Twenty minutes later, she strolled around the grocery store pushing a cart. Fresh fruit was better than her old standby granola bars. She should buy chicken instead of hamburger, but damn now that she had a backyard, how could she resist grilling good old-fashioned beef.
"I'd go with the beef," a male voice suggested when she pondered long in the meat section. A chill went down her spin at his deep timbre. She peeked up between a lock of hair that had flopped across her face and focused on the man now standing in front of her. Talk about Prime Grade A!
He was stocky with thick muscles in all the right places--chest and arms. His eyes were russet brown with gold flecks. A slight smile teased lips a woman could kiss all night and beg for more. In a word, he was gorgeous with a capital G. Ayana had to hold onto the cart with both hands to keep from running her fingers through his hair. The silky locks were a mess like he'd stuffed his head into a T-shirt and run out to the store just like she did. Maybe he didn't have a woman at home to cook for him. She frowned at the thought, because how likely was that. Not all this yummy goodness. A woman would have to be blind not to have snatched him up fast.
"I'm sorry," he said, breaking into her thoughts. "I didn't mean to annoy you."
She realized she'd frowned thinking about someone else getting him first. "Oh no, it's fine. You didn't annoy me." She offered her best smile and focused on his handsome face to be sure she didn't miss the name. Man, I hope he lives close by. "I just had so much on my mind what with just moving around here. I'm Ayana."
He put his hand out, and like a robot, she dropped hers into his palm. Her heart hammered in her chest and then felt like it had stopped when he gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "Pretty name."
Somehow she felt disappointed that he didn't give her a compliment along with the comment about her name. If she went by the interest in his eyes though, he was feeling more than her moniker. "Thanks," she breathed. He didn't let go, and she darn sure wasn't going to make him.
"Welcome to the neighborhood. I'm Reece. Tell me it's my lucky day and that your new house is near here?" His eyebrows rose in question.
Reece. Yum! Should she tell him the street? Why not? She wanted to see more of him, and it was obvious he had no problem with her race. "Lawnwood Drive." He drew in a sharp breath and named the number of her house exactly. She gasped. "How did you know?"
"For one thing, I live on that street. For another, I knew the house next door to me had been sold." He moved in closer to her. Ayana's breath caught in her throat. She didn't think her heart would slow down any time soon. Everything inside of her screamed touch him, but she wasn't getting arrested her first day here for attacking Mr. McHottie. Of course every woman within eyesight of him would understand the temptation.
Then she realized what he'd said. He lived next door to her? No way. Too, too lucky. "Next door?" she squeaked.
He nodded. "Yes, 6504."
So that's what it was, she mused. That's why the two women from earlier had gotten their feathers up. She bet every woman in the block was lusting over Reece, and to have new blood move into the area, they were worried. Of course, they'd dismissed her out of hand, like a man this hot wouldn't look twice at her. Wouldn't they cuss up a storm if they saw her right now?
She brightened her smile even more. Not that she expected him to fall for her, because seriously, men didn't land in her lap like that. She knew she was just ordinary looking. At least she had a decent figure, if a little smallish in the boob and butt area. So what. She liked to think she made up for it in personality--most of the time. "Well, it'll be nice getting to know you."
"You can count on it. In fact," he said, eying the meat selection next to them, "since you're so keen on beef, why don't you invite me over to cook out. We can consider it a house-warming. I'll bring you a gift."
Ayana laughed. He did not just invite himself over to her house so she could cook for him. Like she was going to say no. "Sure, I'd like that."
He grinned, revealing even white teeth. She resisted a bit of light-headedness. The man had all kinds of charm, and he knew it. "Is tomorrow evening too soon?"
An image of her wrecked living room slid into her head with wall-to-wall boxes. "Not at all. Sounds great."
"Good." He lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed it. Flaming hot desire scorched a path between her legs. Another look from him seemed to say he knew how she felt. "Until then."